Torah observance is much more than just Shabbat, the festivals, and kosher. A great number of ethical and moral issues/commandments become significantly conscious to the Torah reader. Likewise, a person has to encounter a world going not only back some 3,300 years to the time of the Exodus, but multiplied millennia to the Creation of the cosmos itself. The questions and the controversies that the first five books of the Bible present to us, not just as students of God’s Word, but specifically as Messianic Believers—are quite significant. Many people do not know what to do when the social norms of the ancient period are different than those of today, and are often at a loss when reading the Torah. Not infrequently, such issues are just avoided or outright ignored in Messianic Torah study.
One area that receives some discussion, in various parts of the Messianic movement, is whether or not the five books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy)—which we usually refer to as the Torah—should ever be called the Law. A statement that can be heard from time to time in our Messianic faith community, is: The Torah is teaching. The Torah is not the law. It is said that Torah just means Teaching or Instruction, and should never be referred to by the term law.
J.K. McKee of Messianic Apologetics goes through the study questions for Ch 3 in the Messianic Beginnings workbook:
1. What are some examples of common Christian ignorance of the Torah? Do you think this is acceptable for those who claim to study and know the Bible?
2. Do you believe knowing about the Torah is important for our faith and having a proper foundation for understanding the Apostolic Scriptures (New Testament)? Why or why not?
3. Give examples of modern societal degradation that have resulted, or can result, from not heeding the Torah’s commandments.
4. In what sense is the Torah “Teaching”? In what sense is the Torah “Law”?
5. Give some examples, based in the Torah, of how Believers are to be holy, or more specifically set-apart, from the world. How important do you believe this is?
6. Why do you think many believe that the Messiah abolished the Torah? Do you believe that “fulfill” means “abolish”? Why or why not?
7. Why do you think that many Bible teachers speak against the Torah?
8. What do you believe the correct meaning of “under the Law” is?
9. Understanding that Yeshua upheld the validity of the Torah or Law of Moses, how might we reconcile what many claim about Paul and other authors in the Apostolic Scriptures (New Testament), to His words?
10. List some specific reasons why born again Believers need the Torah.
11. What is sin, Biblically defined? What is lawlessness, Biblically defined?
12. If sin is indeed disobedience to the Torah, what things might you need to change in your life? What things do you need to pray about?
J.K. McKee of goes through some of the significant reasons, from both the Tanach (OT) and Apostolic Writings (NT), of why God’s people need to consider the ongoing importance and relevance of the Torah for their spiritual instruction and direction.
J.K. McKee of Messianic Apologetics goes through the study questions for Ch 2 in the Messianic Beginnings workbook:
1. Do you think that it is significant that while many Jewish people have come to faith in Messiah Yeshua, many non-Jewish Believers have developed an interest in the Torah? Why or why not?
2. How was Ancient Israel to be blessed? Does this same principle apply to Believers today?
3. How did a return to the study of the Torah benefit the Jews who returned to the Land of Israel from the Babylonian exile?
4. How could studying the Torah portions on a weekly basis give you a newfound richness to your walk with the Lord?
5. Do you want to study the Torah? Why or why not?
Perhaps the most shocking trend present today in the Messianic movement, is witnessing a return of many evangelical Believers to the foundations of our faith. This is best exemplified by many individuals studying the Torah on a consistent basis. The Torah is the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, also commonly called the Law of Moses or Pentateuch.
J.K. McKee of Messianic Apologetics responds to three categories of questions: Tanach (OT), Apostolic Scriptures (NT), and theology/Biblical Studies.
1. Is it true that Torah allows sojourners to eat animals that died of natural causes?
2. Yeshua is described as “firstborn.” Wouldn’t that mean that Yeshua was created?
3. Will my Torah observance as a non-Jew, provoke Jewish non-Believers to jealousy for Messiah faith?
Mark and Margaret Huey, and John McKee discuss how there are many different viewpoints out in the broad Messianic world regarding what it means to have a “Torah foundation.” While there is the broad conviction that God’s Torah is relevant for today, what does that actually mean in terms of commandments to be followed and/or applied in the Twenty-First Century?
J.K. McKee of Messianic Apologetics discusses a new assault witnessed on the Apostle Paul from social media “Truthers.” Also discussed are neo-Sadducees with an article, “If It’s Not in Torah, It’s Not True.”